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Broadside concerning the execution of James Wilson and John McDonald


This crime report begins: 'An account of the Execution of these two unfortunate Young Men, JAMES WILSON and JOHN M'DONALD, who were Hanged at Glasgow on Wednesday the 4th of June, 1823, for Housebreaking and Theft; with an account of their behaviour in the Prison and at the place of Execution.' It was published by John Muir of Glasgow on 4th June 1823.

Often reports of executions included a transcipt of the condemned man's last words. In this instance, a transcript of an 'Address to the Spectators at the Execution' is included instead. The speaker who gave the address is not named, but it is likely that it was one of the magistrates or ministers who attended the execution. Here, as in many broadsides of the period, the usual vices are blamed for a life of crime: 'Sabbath day breaking, evil company, and intemperance'.

Broadsides are single sheets of paper, printed on one side, to be read unfolded. They carried public information such as proclamations as well as ballads and news of the day. Cheaply available, they were sold on the streets by pedlars and chapmen. Broadsides offer a valuable insight into many aspects of the society they were published in, and the National Library of Scotland holds over 250,000 of them.

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Date of publication: 1823   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.73(060)
Broadside concerning the execution of James Wilson and John McDonald
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